Tibet 2004

After our return from the summer journey to Tibet, here is a short account of what we managed to accomplish on the “Roof of the World”, thanks to the precious help of many people. This year, other than the work of distributing aid, the photos also show almost all the villages we help and demonstrate the reality in which these people live. Although the photos may seem beautiful and picturesque, please keep in mind that it is an extremely difficult reality for those who have to survive in it day-by-day.

The Journey and Shopping

We arrived in Tibet mid July, when we started our work by buying the major part of the materials for distribution in the markets of Lhasa, the capital, where it is possible to find a greater choice of clothing at cheaper prices. We bought, for approximately 2000 children, leather and cotton shoes, trousers and long wool underwear, t-shirts, shirts, wool sweaters, padded jackets, hats, chubas (the traditional Tibetan dress), school uniforms, soap and towels. In the villages where we work there are no shops, and, as we already know from experience, most families have no income making it impossible for them to buy even the basic necessities in the city.
All the goods bought in Lhasa were then checked and packed into lorries, after which our journey continued towards the city of Shigatse, the second largest in Tibet. It is around this city that the largest part of the villages and monasteries we help are situated.
In Shigatse we made the second part of our shopping: sacks of flour, rice and ground barley flour of 25 kg. This food is distributed to each family on the basis of the number of its members – often the summer harvest is insufficient to feed the family for the entire year. In Shigatse we also bought a stock of exercise books, pens and ink, pencils, erasers and sharpeners for the children who attend school.

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The Distribution, Letters and Photographs

The work of distributing the aid took place, as in previous years, in the presence of representatives of the Local Government. These officials guaranteed the equal distribution of aid amongst all the children of the villages and their families, according to their registration lists of the local population.
The villages helped this year were Dakshu, Dhonnang, Gangchen, Gyalchun, Gyedin, Kyeshun, Nangpa Gye, Namling, Nepu, Nye, Nyeshar, Pandin, Sagoe, Shishung, Sengye Tse, Singma, Ten, Tsok, as well as some children living in Shigatse and Lhasa.
The actual distribution took place in the villages of Nye, Nepu and Gangchen, where the inhabitants of the surrounding villages gathered in days of celebration.
The children, those sponsored and those still waiting for sponsors, were photographed, and many families gave to us letters for their benefactors. Many of these letters are very simple and repetitive, but most of these people have never written a letter in their entire life but wish, even in a few words, to express their gratitude for the help that arrives from so far away.
Some families also received photos and letters from their sponsors; for them it is a moment of great happiness to know their sponsor, even if only through an image. These photos are often kept amongst the most precious belongings of the family, a kind of symbolic talisman of an important friendship.

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Villages

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Dakshu
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Dhonnang
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Gangchen
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Gyalchun
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Kyeshun
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Nepu
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Nye
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Nyeshar
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Pandin
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Sagoe
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Shishung
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Singma
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Ten
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